Saturday, July 14, 2012
CHURCH IN TAMARINDO
Next month we will be headed to a church planters assessment in Indianapolis, and we are hoping to be accepted and sent as church planters with Converge (www.convergeworldwide.org). We will keep you posted. Please keep is in prayer, and hopefully we may see some of you on our next trip down to Costa Rica. Visit us at www.tamarindochurch.com .
Grace and Peace,
Lyle and Stacey
Friday, July 16, 2010
A NEW CHAPTER- PASTOR
I guess I should start this update with the most exciting news for us..... I was recently called to pastor Beach Community Church, and will begin leading the church on this Sunday www.beachcommunitychurch.com . Our church held a celebration Potluck Lunch at church last Sunday to say farewell to the current pastor as well as welcome me in as the new Pastor. Please pray for me as Stacey and we step into this new role at the church. God is moving in some interesting things in our area, and we are excited to be caught up in whatever He has in store. Please pray for wisdom, discernment, humility and gifts of leadership as we move ahead.
Before taking on the pastor role, Stacey and I decided to make a trip home to the States in June. We had a great time visiting family and friends in Virginia Beach and Wisconsin/Illinois. The kids had a blast going to the zoo, water parks, the marine science museum, the amusement park. They also got to cruise around on a jet ski and get pulled behind it in a tube/raft with mom.... all thanks to great grandparents. Grandparents are the coolest! Oh...We also celebrated Olivia’s 4th B-day while in the States. Man, they are growing up fast.
While in the U.S., I was able to attend an ALPHA conference. Basically, its a tool that many churches use for outreach and growth, and the conference gives training on how to host these groups out of your home church.
Now that we're back here in Tamarindo, we are just taking time to acclimate to the new role with the church, and as you can imagine things have been extra busy… but a good kind of busy. Stacey has been super supportive in keeping things in order at home and helping me out where she can. Wives are the coolest!! Haha. I’m thankful to God that he’s given me a great partner for life and ministry.
D-group has been going great! Over the past few months, we have been studying scripture verses covering themes of Self-Image and Perfectionism. In addition, we completed our discussion group on the book Basic Christianity by John Stott, and we are now going through Crazy Love by Francis Chan. This is still a highlight of my week as we have a great time of fellowship, meaningful discussion and prayer. Unfortunately, a couple of folks in our group, Kevin and Marlen, have had to head back to the U.S. We will miss everything that they brought to our group…. Which was a lot!
“Praise God.... Thank You Lord!!” Those are the first words that come to mind as I think of what to share with you all. This year, the Café has finally turned the corner and is functioning as fully self supported ministry. We are grateful that the day has come. I think back on every year during the low season of tourism. Over the past 3 years, every low season has brought be to the lord to pray and ask, “Lord, do you want us to keep this thing going? How much longer? Do you want us to keep investing our time and energy here?” In faith, we have heard a “Yes” from the Lord, and we kept going. And finally we have arrived! Our goal of the Café being self supported has been met.
I’d like to add also that he Café has continued to serve in incredible ways as an outreach to the community. Time after time we meet unchurched people and show hospitality and kindness in the name of Jesus. Please pray with us for open doors to share our faith as we befriend these people that God sends our way.
Daniel- In addition to this praise, I am thankful because the Lord has brought an incredible dude to our doorstep to run the Café as I enter into the pastor role. In the last update letter, I mentioned our new intern Daniel. Well, in getting to know Daniel I felt he was the perfect guy for the position… and in God’s perfect timing! Daniel has committed to serving at the Café up to June 2011 with an openness to the possibility of being here even longer. We are grateful.
Ashlyn- Lastly, we would like to say a HUGE thanks to Ashlyn Jacobsen who served with us from April to June. Ashlyn did an amazing job serving at the Café and had a huge impact in the life of the youth at Beach Community Church. Thank you Ashlyn! We hope all is going well back in the States.
Thank you all very much for your prayers and support, especially as we enter this new chapter of pastoring the church.
Grace and Peace,
For me in my new role as pastor and for Stacey as well.
For the Café to continue to be a haven, a light, a place of ministry.
For our church members as they transition with us… for unity and growth.
For me in preaching every week… that the Holy Spirit would give me the words to teach, challenge, encourage, spur on our congregation.
Monday, February 15, 2010
2010 A New Year
Hello again from Costa Rica… we hear it’s been a snowy winter back in the U.S., so maybe a letter from Costa Rica might bring some warmth your way. =)
THE FAMILY…. has been doing well over the past months. To be honest, it’s been a very busy few months as you will find in our letter. I guess what I’m discovering is that when the tourist season kicks in here (Dec-Mar), work and ministry also kick in. The café triples/quadruples in clients and sales, there are more weddings to officiate, more music gig’s to play, more e-mails to respond to, more of everything. For us…. while this means less time with family… we are grateful for the opportunities God gives us to provide for our needs.
Lyle- In the midst of the busyness of work and ministry, one of the highlights of my weeks continues to be Discipleship group. On a weekly basis, I meet with Daniel (intern), Marlen, (former intern), Alex, Cady, and Kevin for discipleship meetings. Right now, we are memorizing scripture verses, doing bible study regarding those verses, and reading through John Stott’s book Basic Christianity. I love running with a pack in fellowship, prayer, and mutual encouragement. It is a lively group, and I count it a humbling privilege to be leading them deeper in their walks with Christ.
Stacey- A highlight for Stacey is that she recently stopped leading women’s bible study in our home, and is now attending the women’s bible study at church on Thursdays, and in Avellanas on Tuesdays. While there were several women faithfully attending the bible study in our home, Stacey felt that God was calling her to have more of a ministry of presence with others, and to connect more with other women at our church whom she was only able to see on Sundays. It was a difficult decision to make, but after a few weeks she has found it to have been a wise and fruitful decision.
Olivia and Wolfie- They are both healthy and doing well. We do have a fun story regarding Olivia. We’re not entirely sure how aware she was of what she was saying, but one day… while with Stacey, Olivia verbally asked Jesus into her heart. We think that's awesome. And while we questioned the level of her understanding of her decision, I am just grateful to see the spiritual influence of my wife and our church community on our children. As for Wolfie… he is now swimming!! He’s not 100% there yet, but just about. And this gives us a bit more security with regard to his safety in the pool and at the beach.
Thank you to all of you who have been in prayer for us. In looking back at the last letter, I can see prayers answered… and I’m thankful to God. The Café has done great over the past 3 months… and finances are looking good for the season. In terms of outreach, we are finding more and more locals making us their regular stop for coffee, and for conversation. Please pray that these relationships will bear fruit to salvation of our friends. Lastly, I see the café growing more and more into it’s “life” as a ministry. Weekly ministry that takes place here include: Discipleship Group on Tuesday afternoons, worship/music practice on Thursday afternoons, Christian Surfer’s bible study on Thursday evenings, and now we will be hosting bi-weekly prayer meetings for the upcoming mission trip in March.
In December, we were sad to see our intern Marlen have to return home due to financial concerns…. And in January we were blessed to see her come back! After ministering with the Café and Beach Community Church for a year, Marlen has felt called to continue ministering here in Tamarindo, but in the capacity of working full time, and making Tamarindo her home. This has been a huge faith step for Marlen. Please keep here in your prayers as she is looking for work and exploring creative ways to make ends meet. We are thankful for her heart to minister here with us in Tamarindo.
Daniel continues to serve with us, and I feel very blessed to have him to minister alongside of. I’ve truly never met anyone with such a servants heart… I learn from him daily. Daniel has also decided to serve with us through June of 2011, and as you can imagine this is a huge blessing!
In March, we will have a new intern arriving named Ashlyn. She will be serving with us for 3-4 months, and we look forward to having her on the team. In addition to Ashlyn, we have 3 other potential interns, all of whom would be great assets to the team here as well. Please pray with us as we discern possibilities of them serving with us.
BEACH COMMUNITY CHURCH….Initially I wrote a couple of paragraphs on what we’ve been up to with BCC, but decided a condensed bullet-point version might be more appropriate….
- Missions Week- December 7-11
- Annual Church’s Christmas Party- fun fellowship with our church family!
- BCC Men's Retreat- a great time of fellowship and surf!
- Christmas Eve Service- great outreach and worship!
- Hope for Haiti- Tamarindo- It was awesome. The local community really rallied in response. We had $2800 in raffle prizes donated for the event…. And we were able to raise a sum total of $4,780.00 that was sent to Haiti through World Vision. We thank the Lord for his faithfulness… not only were we able to raise money to help the people in Haiti, but I feel that the event was a great success in bringing our community of faith together with the un-churched in our area in a powerful way. Hopefully we will to see more of these sorts of interactions in the future.
We know it is God's grace that sustains our ministry and who opens doors to bear fruit and do more. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. Please see below for our prayer request and how to support our ministry.
Grace and peace,
Lyle, Stacey, Olivia and Wolfie
- For protection and blessing of our home/family relationships
- For protection and blessing in our church family and our relationships with eachother.
- For wisdom and discernment in daily ministry decisions
- For growth in our faith and obedience to Christ
- For sustenance of financial needs at the Church and through the Cafe business
- For the Lord to bring new spiritual life out of the catastrophic events in Haiti, and a new hope filled chapter for the country.
Monday, November 02, 2009
We hope this letter finds you all doing well. It’s been about 4 ½ months since we’ve checked in via our update letters, so let me just jump in with some highlights of what’s been going on in our lives and ministry.
Wolfie and Olivia are both doing well. Olivia turned 3 in June, and Wolfie turned 2 in August. I mentioned in the last letter that Olivia was swimming on her own… and now she has moved on to boogie boarding. Surfing can’t be too far off in the future!! Wolfie, we love that he loves to laugh. I think he may end up being the family comedian….we’ll see??
Stacey and I are doing well also. Stacey… continues to be a stellar mom and wife. In addition she continues to host women’s bible study in our home and mommy group on Thursdays. Juggling all of this and church life has it’s challenging days… but has managed to keep her sanity and faith in tact. As for me, I was kept busy balancing between church, family, café, Marriott gigs and weddings on the side. And by the grace of God I still have my faith and sanity in tact as well! Praise God! =) Fun news is that we were able to take a trip home to the US to visit family in September, and were blessed to get some quality time with our parents.
Café Café Interns-
This past summer, we were super-blessed to have Hannah Matthews and Raquel Rees serving with us at Café Café and with our church. Hannah plugged in with the children’s ministry at church, and Raquel was a regular part of our praise and worship team.
During the time that interns spend with us, I ask them to write a monthly report on how they are doing. One of the questions I ask is… “what relationships in your life have been most rewarding?” In their responses below I think you’ll get a glimpse into some of the ways God moves down here through the Café-Intern program.
Raquel writes…..“One of my favorite times is Discipleship on Mondays. It is such a good mix of intellectual feasting along with some heartfelt share-time. It’s also super encouraging to have Alex and Alvaro there as an example of strong men in their faith. Women’s bible study is also especially rewarding, and really, any time spent with Stacey. I have needed a female mentor for a long time….”
Hannah expresses that, “The community of believers here is unlike anything I’ve experienced in the states. I love getting to be friends with people of all ages. I have gotten to talk to Dave and Tamra a lot. I have enjoyed getting to hear about all of their mission experiences, and Dave has shared with me some really good Bible resources. I have absolutely loved getting to know Stacey. She is such an encouragement to me, and teaches me so much, whether she realizes it or not.…….. It amazes me how people I’ve known for such a short time, can talk about what the Lord is doing in everyday conversations while we hang out. It is a huge encouragement to me to have friendships so centered on Christ, but still able to have so much fun. Monday discipleship is one of my favorite times of the week. I think it’s awesome to get to learn more about God in a deeper level with three Godly men, and I’ve very thankful for Lyle and his spiritual wisdom that he shares with us.”
Did you hear that… I have spiritual wisdom!!! I’ve been praying for that!! =) Haha, Anyway…..It’s encouraging to see what God is up to through and among us through the eyes of visiting interns. Stacey and I are just thankful to be part of it all.
As for Marlen Rivera, she is still with us after about a year now, and continues to be such an awesome servant to our church and Café ministry. She’s a regular at the Café, volunteers with Christian Surfers, is always present to help with church events, and is a regular part of our church’s mission trips. Marlen has a true evangelist’s heart and giftings, and we are blessed to have her on our team.
We have been meeting on Monday mornings over the past 6-7 months, and have had some very fruitful dialogue together. The books we have been covering are “Reason for God” by Tim Keller, and we are now finishing up “Spiritual Leadership” by Oswald Sanders. This is one of my favorite parts of the week, and I think the same would be said by our group members.
Over the past month or so, Stacey and I have been praying that God might send another intern. So what happens… for a while, nothing. But then just this week, we had a short term visitor to the area express that he would like to intern with us for the next four months!!! How awesome is that. His name is Daniel, and he will be with us at least through April. Thank you Lord!
Bible Study- I continue to a lead one of the men’s bible studies for our church. We’ve been going through Romans, and always have great discussion and fellowship together.
Prayer and Praise Night- A few months ago, there seemed to be an expressed interest among people in our church for a time outside of Sunday mornings to spend in extended song and prayer together. So, in August, I began facilitating a once a month, mid-week prayer and praise service. All who come are blessed by this time, and attendance is steadily growing with each event. I’m just grateful to see this spiritual hunger in the hearts of our church members.
In July, I finished up a sermon series on the “I Am” claims of Jesus in the Gospel of John. As far as I can tell people were blessed by the messages…. I hope so anyway =) The experience was definitely a blessing to me.
Mission Trip Nicaragua
In September, I was part of the leadership team for our church’s mission trip to Nicaragua. The Café had collected a good number of clothes and shoes over the prior months that we were able to bless the poor with in Nicaragua. In addition to that, our group:
-built a cooking station for a church that feeds children who live and work in the city landfill area called La Chureca.
-helped with the La Chureca feeding program and distributed clothes, shoes and dresses to the kids at the dump.
-visited a Christian orphanage bringing infant/toddler clothes and supplies.
-brought food to and shared the gospel with a poor at an impoverished barrio called Manchester.
-built class room dividers and did roof repair for God’s School in Manchester.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support of our ministry. We are grateful for your encouragement and prayer covering. Please see below for our prayer requests, and be sure to let us know if there is anything we can pray for you on.
Grace and Peace,
Lyle, Stacey, Olivia, Wolfie
· Prayer in thanks to God for sustaining our family in life, faith and ministry.
· Prayer for Lyle and Stacey, that we would continue to grow in deeper in our prayer and devotional life.
· Prayer for open doors for us to share the gospel with people at the Café and with our non-Christian friends in Tamarindo.
· Wisdom and discernment regarding the future of the Cafe/Intern program. Funds are running low… and we praying for a good season this Dec-April.
· Wisdom/Discernment for Stacey and I as we pray about ways to reduce our cost of living.
To Make Donations to our Ministry "click here"
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
As you can imagine, a lot has happened over the past 4 months since our last update. Our family is doing well aside from a nagging cold/cough that we’ve all had our bouts with over the last month or so. High fevers with the kids had us a bit worried as we’re still only figuring out this parenting thing. Blood tests, a couple of trips to the doctors, shots for Wolfie. What an adventure. One night we were up late with Olivia during our recent trip to the U.S. She had a high fever… and this just so happened to occur shortly after the Swine Flu thing broke out. We prayed hard, worried through the night, and thank God she was fine the next morning. But it was a scary moment for new parents like us. Anyway….. on with the update.
Wolfie is a great kid. He is full of laughter and has a tender heart. During Easter Sunday, the kids were taught the song, “hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest”… and now, every so often Wolfie (and Olivia) will spontaneously burst into song singing these words, “Osanna, Osanna, Osanna haaayes”. For Stacey and I, we couldn’t have greater joy than to see our kids already learning to songs in praise to God. I imagine it brings a smile to their heavenly Father as well.
Olivia gives us a lot of joy. While she’s in her “terrible twos” right now…… She has plenty of occasions of sweetness in her. Getting a cup of water for Wolfie, or getting his binky/pacifier and putting it back in his mouth for him. Hugging her brother until he gets annoyed with how hard she likes to hug….lol. Olivia has also learned to swim on her own over the past 3 months. Next comes surfing!!!... I hope. Below is a pic of her at her birthday party last week. She's the one in the pink bikini.Ministry with Stacy and Lyle
Stacey has been managing well as she juggles the responsibilities of being mom, wife, follower of Jesus, bible-study leader, part-time baker for the café, and homemaker. I’m pretty amazed at my wife and how she “does it all”. While I’m often the one reminding her to slow down and not overdo it, I have to say there is part of me that admires how well she does in all of these roles she plays. One highlight of the past four months has been the women’s bible study she lead on Beth Moore’s Breaking Free study. She led the study in our home on Tuesday mornings, and it was a true blessing to all of the women involved. Interestingly, the study consisted not only of locals, but also had a mix of international visitors: A woman from Czechoslovakia, a woman from Finland, a woman Turkey (whom I mentioned in the last update letter) and our friend Kai who is originally from Canada. All of these women were/are in important seasons of transition in their lives, and I’m confident that they would all testify that time they shared in this study was a true blessing.
As for me… I’ve been pretty busy as well. Making a life/ministry down here doesn’t come easy. To make ends meet, I perfrom music 3x a week at the Marriott and once a week at Witches Rock surf Camp. In addition I officiate weddings and play music for people having Desitnation Weddings here in Costa Rica. While those things allow me to meet our financial needs down here, more than anything my heart is in what God’s been doing in the ministry realm. In recent months, two ministries have surfaced mostly by means of God working in the hearts of people in our congregation. First, a men’s bible study has formed out of a core group of 4 guys from the area of Tamarindo and the beaches south of us who are hungry to grow in their faith as we fellowship weekly over coffee and scripture. We meet at the Café every Friday morning from 8-10:30. Not only has it been an encouragement and blessing for all of us, I think it is also catching the attention of our regulars who come in and out while we are meeting on the front porch. Second, about 3 months ago, I proposed the idea of forming discipleship group with some of the young 20 something folks whom God has brought forth to be leaders in church an ministry in our church and in the area. They were instantly eager to start, and since that time we have been meeting regularly on Monday mornings from 8-10am for prayer, bible study, and discussion revolving around Oswald Sanders’ book Spiritual Leadership, and Tim Kellers’ Reason For God. For added richness to our discussion, we have also include our Café interns in the group. I have to say that these to events are both highlights to my week. Their enthusiasm and hunger to dig into their faith and into ministry is contagious. God is doing great things in our church and in our area, and we are grateful to be a part of his plans here.
Some of you may remember me mentioning our Café Intern Marlen in the last letter. She was originally to be here for only 3 months and well….. 3 months turned to 6, and now 6 months has turned into committing to serve with us for an additional year. Marlen has been instrumental in the Café ministry, leadership of the Tamarindo Christian Surfers ministry, as well as hosting weekly youth group meetings at our church….. and did I mention being a regular on our Church’s missions/outreach events. We are grateful to have her with us for the coming year.
New Interns- Just last week, we had 2 interns arrive from Houston named Raquel and Hannah. They are college students at Texas A&M, and will be with us until mid August. Already, Raquel has plugged into Sunday music at church, and Hannah is pretty pumped to help with the children’s ministry on Sundays. In addition to serving, as I mentioned earlier, they will also be participating the Tuesday discipleship group while they are here. We are thankful for them and pray that they are blessed as they become part of our ministry community.
There is so much more that has been going on, but as as was the case with the gosple of John, if we tried to record all that Jesus is doing in our area, there wouldn’t be enough books to contain all of the stories. We are truly blessed to be part of the work God is doing in our area.
Thank you all very much for your prayers and support of our family and our ministry.
Grace and Peace to you,
The Watson Family
• That God would give us wisdom, discernment and openness to anything “new” that he have us do in our community to be a witness to non-believers in our area.
• For God’s continued growth of our Church community in depth of spiritual maturity, and in numbers as our heart is to reach unbelievers.
• For God’s continued financial provision for our church and for our ministry in these uncertain times economically.
• For our faith and obedience to Christ to Grow every day.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Seasons- Tamarindo Ministries
Greetings from the warm sunny climate of Costa Rica!! (Had to add that in. I hear it’s been freezing up there!…haha) In all honesty, I do miss the seasons of the year…even Winter. The cycle of natures life and colors turning and changing… then returning again and starting over. Hopefully we’ll see some of that in our economy right… clearly we are in a season of hard times, but we trust that in time (and as we see it, in God’s time) the season will turn. I was talking to a friend yesterday, one of our café regulars, and I think he summed it up well. “ We all just have to hunker down and ride it out”. And so I pray God’s grace for us all as we hunker down and ride out these times…. That we may be the salt of the earth and the light of the world especially in these hard times. That God’s grace, kindness, and joy will be especially evident in and through the church.
By the grace of God our family is doing well. While we all have had our bouts with colds here and there, we are doing well and we are thankful for it. Wolfy- is learning 3 syllable words.. which is amazing to us. His vocabulary has grown and now consists of the words papaya, zapato, banana,hello, mama, daddy. He also has shown and interest in drums and guitar. Olivia- has also grown in her communication skills… forming 2-3 word sentences. She loves to break into spontaneous dance which resembles a combination of ballet and hippie-like free dance. Closing her eyes, she gets lost in her own world of free expression. Sometimes I’m not sure of whether to encourage this theme of freedom… or fear it’s implications for future boundary and disciplinary issues…haha. We love seeing our kids grow. One touching moment to share is from bed time. One night I asked, “Olivia, do you want to pray?” She answered a quick, “yeah!”. So we all closed our eyes… not knowing what to expect because she’s never prayed before. And she began to pray, “blah….blah God, blah…blah-blah mommy, daddy, wolfy, lola, poopa, grandma granpa…blah blah-blah… blah… Amen”. What a blah-blah-blah blessing to us!!
Mommy Group- has had upwards to 15-20 moms in attendance with their toddlers… .and the event has continued to be a place where God forms relationships of care love and trust between women from our church and non-Christian women in our community.
Women’s Bible Study- Stacey and Jen have been co-leading a womens bible study for the past 2 years or so, but have recently “split” the bible study into two meetings; one in Tamarindo in our home, and the other on the beach in Playa Avellanas. Stacey is now facilitating a 6 week study on the Beth Moore study Breaking Free.
Tamarindo Ministries/ Café-Café - Through our web presence, the Café has been a success as a connecting point. Last month,we were found by a couple from Turkey that had recently become Christians (last October). The husband had converted from the Muslim faith to Christianity, and the wife from New Age philosophy and spirituality to Christianity. This has been a radical transition for both of them. Ebru is now in Stacey’s bible Study, and Achmed is plugged into our men’s bible study. Please keep them both in your prayers as they build a foundation of faith in Christ… their names are Achmed and Ebru.
Thanks! Thank you Lord for …
The Hill family… Wes, Jeanna, Hayden, Landen, Aubry- for blessing our family, our ministry, our church, and our community. The Hill family truly a part of our ministry family here during their stay in Tamarindo from September-December. We truly miss having them with us…. And hope they will be able to serve with us again in the future.
Our present Café interns Marlen and Josh. Marlen had completed her commitment to serving with us last December, but has extended her time with us to April. In addition to continuing at the Café, she will serve as leader of our church’s youth ministry. She has been a great asset to the ministry team her, and continues to bless us with her heart to serve our church and community. Our newest intern, Josh, arrived in early January. Josh has plugged into the Café ministry with ease, and he has been a blessing to us in serving our church with his music talents (drums/guitar).
Grace and Support- We thank God for his grace that sustains us in life, marriage, parenthood, and ministry. And we thank God for friends and family like you who pray for and encourage us.
Grace, Peace, and Blessings to you all!!
Lyle, Stacey, Olivia, and Wolfy
Achmed and Ebru- God’s grace and mercy in their transitions of life and faith.
Lyle and Stacey- for our marriage. For daily balance between our family commitments and our call to ministry.
Café Café – for God use the coffeehouse as a “light”, shining forth grace, kindness to all who enter our doors.
Friday, October 03, 2008
THANK GOD FOR CAFE INTERNS
We hope this letter finds you doing well. It’s a rainy afternoon here at the Coffeehouse. No better time for writing and catching up with you. All is well here with our family. As for the kids, Wolfy started walking a couple of months ago. And Olivia… she in the midst of potty training??? What an interesting life experience for the family. So we have this system where, if Olivia goes to the potty in the toilet, she gets to take a small fist-full of peanut MnMs, from aclear plastic jar we keep next to the toilet. Picture it; Daddy, Mommy and Wolfy all crowded around the toilet giving Olivia hi-fives while saying “yeah kaka” for our smiling daughter. I never in my life imagined I’d be part of such an event… but it does keep life interesting. Anyway…
Stacey continues to co-lead the women’s bible study on Tuesday mornings while also facilitating Mommy Group on Thursday mornings. Both events continue to attract new comers and are going strong (Below- Mommy Group on Olivia's Birthday) even in the rainy season. Right now, Stacey is leading the women’s bible study through a Beth Moore video/study series on the book of Daniel, and they are having some spiritually rich discussion. Last week, she boasted, “everyone was in tears…”. I’m guessing that was a good thing… right? In addition, Stacey will soon be taking on a ministry on Sunday mornings for mothers of toddlers at church. She has designed a “kid coral” to keep toddlers safe and entertained during church worship. We should have that up and running by the end of October.
Interns- It has been our vision at the Café that we would have interns come and serve at the Café in the community, and it has been such a blessing over the past several months to see this vision realized through a number of interns that have served with us. .
Kristina Clark served full time at the Café from April-July. In addition to Café responsibilities, she also served our church community by leading our church’s youth group on several occasions and going on a weeklong mission trip to Nicaragua. Kristina plugged into ministry in on so many other levels that this letter wont permit me to include. In short, we hope to have more interns with a heart like hers in the future.
The North Carolina Crew- During the month of June, the café was blessed with five recent high school graduates (Morgan, Drew, Laura, Burcu, and Katie) who served in a variety of ways. Collaboratively, they; worked the Café 2-3 days a week, taught art classes at CEPIA (a local organization helping at risk youth in the area), co-led our church’s youth group, sealed and painted parts of our church, volunteered with Tamarindo Recycling Program, and volunteered helping with a local law firm. It was disorienting just watching them run from here to there serving in so many ways. THANKS GUYS!
Keith Holmes has been our most recent intern…. And flew back to California just yesterday. I call him “ the anchor”. He really held the fort down while Stacey and I were in the U.S. visiting family and attending the Willow Creek Leadership Conference in Virginia Beach. Keith has been a blessing as he has helped out with our church’s youth group and served on our church’s Nicaragua Missions trip in early September. We will really miss having him around.
The Hill Family- Wes, Jeanna, Hayden, Landen, Audry arrived from California about a month ago for a 3-4 month family Sabbatical. The Hills found us through our website about a year ago, and finally got to meet in February during a "scouting" visit they made. We have been grateful for them as they have been super pro-active in plugging into the Cafe and ministry in our area. We are grateful for their friendship as well as their heart to serve.
Marlen Rivera arrived about a week ago from Houston, TX. On her first day, she followed me around the shop with a pen and paper writing down list of “things to do” around the Café. I thank God for Marlen!! What a blessing. Since her arrival, she has also found her way to serving at the welcome desk at our church and helping out with “kid’s club” at the local Calvary Chapel church plant.
Book Lending- We recently… finally… have gotten around to cataloguing our “lending books” at the Café, and we are especially excited to get this list out to our church folks in the area. In sum we have
• 220 Misc. Christian Books (Yancey, Lewis, Graham, Jenkins, Lucado, Eldredge, Willard etc)
• 19 Christian Ed Videos
• 45 Audio Sermons-Bible Studies (Andy Stanley, Rick Warren, Calvary Chapel, etc.)
• 40 Marriage and Family (Gary Chapman, Chuck Coleson, Charle’s Swindoll, Leslie Parrott etc.)
This is an incredible resource in a place where there are no “real” bookstores. The closest book store with books in English is in San Jose (4hrs away). So… “THANK YOU” to all of you who have brought, mailed, smuggled books down for our lending program. In addition, we thank those of you who have brought used books for us to sell as well. I haven’t come up with the numbers, but I know at a glance of our records that our used book sales have helped greatly to supplement our Coffeehouse business/ministry. Thank you!
Trip to the U.S.- Stacey and I were able to travel home for three weeks during July-August visiting family in Wisconsin, Virginia, and North Carolina. It was a blessing to be with our family for an extended time…. as we are usually only with family for two weeks. Highlights were a trip through Milwaukee visiting Stacey’s old stomping grounds, visiting my Uncle Ed in NC, and having Olivia and Wolfy get some grandma and grandpa time.
Mission Trip- Upon returning home from the U.S., I went on a mission trip with our church. The experience of being amidst such poverty was a powerful reminder of how blessed we are to have healthy families, homes, three meals a day, etc. While there our group worked on three projects simultaneously: building a zinc roofed “home” for a poor family of four, laying a floor for a “children’s church” area at a local church, and repairing concrete benches at a children’s feeding area in Managua’s city trash dump. Our church will be making about six of these trips a year. We are excited to see how God will work in Nicaragua and in our hearts as we serve in this way together. You can find out more about our projects at www.costaricachurch.com/id13.html
As you can see, we have been incredibly blessed in our prayers that God would send 'laborers for the harvest". God is good. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. We'll be in touch again in a few months. Until then....
Protection- protection of our home and family as there has been a wave of crime in our area lately.
Growth- in our individual relationships with God.
Selflessness and humility- in our marriage
Opportunity- to share the gospel with our non-Christian friends.